Dust off the suitcase, wash your favorite travel hoodie, check the expiration date on your drivers license, and look to see if SAP Concur’s TripIt app is still on your phone. As business travelers prepare to return to the road, many thoughts and checklists are running through their minds before they book their first trip. There’s the normal items and preparation that accompanied our well-known routines before travel was put on hold for the past nine months. Before Covid-19, travelers would set their meeting, book their trip, then maybe do a few Google searches to make sure they had the best headphones to support their journey. (By the way, big fan of the Shure SE215 bluetooth in-ears with swappable cable)
But today, business travelers face a couple of new and important questions during their pre-trip planning. Fundamental questions like “Can I enter?” and “Do I have to quarantine?” and “What is Covid-19 like” are now part of the New Pre-Trip Process.
Can I enter?
Once a golden ticket for entry to the world, today travelers with a US Passport face many entry restrictions and travel requirements that prohibit and impede on international travel. Currently there are few destinations around the world without some sort of entry restriction or travel requirement for travelers coming from the US. As airlines are constantly adjusting schedules and hotels continue to welcome guests with varying amenities, business travelers from the US will find that they are indeed able to book flights and lodging from their online booking tools (if their company hasn’t disabled access.) But even though tickets can be purchased, and reservations made, travelers must verify for themselves whether or not they are allowed to enter the destination country of their trip. Entry restrictions vary by country and are changing every week. There are several third-party tools, which require the traveler leave their OBT to use, and loads of information scattered throughout the internet – but with restrictions changing weekly and challenges in validating the accuracy or authority of many of these sources, attention should be given to ensure travelers up to date and factual information.
Do I have to quarantine?
As some international destinations begin to ease entry restrictions for travelers coming from the US, many still include mandatory quarantines that limit additional destinations as well as return travel back home to the US. Travelers coming from the US are currently able to enter the UK (after completing a public health locator form) but unable to return home before a mandatory 14-day self-isolation quarantine is completed. The specifics and details around quarantine length/protocol vary from country to country, but except for travel to Mexico and most of South America – most US travelers will be unable to return home from international trips with a duration of less than 14 days.
What is Covid-19 like?
The amount of data and figures around Covid-19 infections, varying from destination to destination, can be somewhat overwhelming. And the decision of whether or not someone should travel today is the responsibility of the traveler. Their health, well-being, and safety can be supported and guided by others (like their company, duty of care risk management providers, and healthcare professionals) but ultimately, travelers should do what is best for themselves. In determining whether or not travel from your current origin to another destination is a good personal decision for you, one suggestion is to simply compare Covid-19 between the O and D. Is Covid-19 better or worse at the destination you’re traveling to, from where you are coming from. This is a simple way to qualify all the numbers and figures, and one of many factors that travelers should consider in determining what travel decisions they should make.
As companies prepare to restart their business travel programs and support the employees that travel for them, it’s important they are empowered with actionable insights that support their pre-trip journey. Tripkicks helps companies provide their travelers with up to date and accurate information to build traveler confidence and make business travel better. If you’d like to learn more about our simple add-on solution for booking tools, click here to set up some time to chat.